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HISTORY    AND    HUMAN    RELATIONS

from their proper place on the fringe to the centre of the

picture—you can evade all problems by saying that

everything is due to the wickedness of King Charles Lr

The point can be illustrated best perhaps by the process

of looking for a moment at its converse.   Let us make

it clear to ourselves : if in our present-day crises Stalin

and his colleagues could be imagined to be as virtuous

and well-intentioned as the statesmen of the Western

world, still our predicament would exist, and there wotSd

be the same dilemma concerning the future of Germany

—especially as we, because we look at him from the

outside, could never be sure that Stalin's intentions

were as good as ours.   In any case we could never be

sure that if we put our trust in him we should not really

be placing weapons into the hands of some villain who

might succeed to his power next year, supposing he

passed off the stage.   Of course, if we are in this same

international predicament and the Russians happen to

be thieves or adventurers or aggressors or drunkards

or sexual perverts to boot, then that is an extra boon

which Providence throws into the lap, so to speak, of the

Western Powers—the kind of boon which, to judge from

our assertions over a number of centuries, Providence

has generally vouchsafed to the British in their wars.

Even in such circumstances, however, we are evading

an essential problem if we lose sight of the basic

predicament—a predicament so exasperating sometimes

that it can be responsible for making people more

wicked and desperate than they otherwise would have

been.   It is like the case of the person who owed his

neighbour £ j and refused to pay it on the ground that